There are a couple of things that I remember vividly from my youth. One of those was going to the local bowling alley and begging my parents for quarters to go play the pinball machines in the arcade. The other was an utter fascination with Star Wars. Fast forward to 2013 and the folks over at Zen Studios have taken those two things from my childhood and married them together into their Pinball FX 2 (Xbox 360), Zen Pinball 2 (Play Station 3), Zen Pinball (iOS) and Zen Pinball HD (Google, Android) platforms. It has potential to be one of those games that transcends genres to become a game that will give a new generation of games those same memories that I had years ago.
What do I get, and why do I want it?
The first three tables in the Star Wars Pinball line up, Zen Studios has said a total of 10 themed Star Wars tables are planned, are tables based on Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes back, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Boba Fett. Yes, the most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy has now has his own pinball table.
In Star Wars Episode V the table is based 100% on the movie. When I say 100% I mean it. Lucas Arts has allowed Zen Studios to use dialogue and other sounds clips ripped right from the movie. At times when you drain the ball you will hear R2-D2 scream in agony. Right down to the iconic soundtrack. You will battle Storm Troopers, AT-ATs, Tie Fighters, and of course Vader. In fact, if you are lucky enough to finally battle Vader a misplaced ball will be obliterated by Vader’s Force Choke. The table plays at a pretty good pace, it never seemed too fast and none of the shots are particularly challenging. It’s a solid table for veteran and new players alike. Visually the table looks just like the movie. For fans of the original Star Wars movies, this table will bring back many memories. Attention to detail is one of the most impressive things with this table. Including a challenge where you have to master the art of being a Jedi, complete with the training droid and all. Everything about this table speaks to the quality that Zen Studios has been known for.
The second table, Star Wars: Clone Wars is a very bright, colorful, fast paced table. The entire back portion of it is littered with a myriad of ramps going all sorts of direction. At first glance it is both intimidating and confusing; however, once you get into the table and develop an understanding of the lanes, and shots, it becomes perfectly understandable. This is the one table I have to make a confession on. I have never watched, or read anything, about the Clone Wars storyline. Yet, that never once took away from my enjoyment over this table. This table also features a “hidden” area, much like the Episode V one. When you shoot the far left lane and spell out Council you will be given a verbal instruction that the Council is ready to see you. Hitting the required target takes you to a training ground. This is another typical Zen trademark. You’re first time there you will literally have no idea what to do, and like me panic and bash the flippers as often as possible resulting in a quick failure. Learning that training area and how to conquer it will provide a hefty bonus much later in the table’s story. It is well worth the effort, especially if you are going after those high scores on the leaderboards.
Probably the one table that most fans will flock to is the last table, Boba Fett. The color scheme for the table is absolutely perfect to what you would imagine a Boba Fett table to be. Muted grey, orange, and browns. Predictably, this is also the table that will require the most patience and skill. To master the table you have to collect bounties, and turn them in. To do that you are required to hit a variety of shots during a time window. The length of this window is determined by the player, with the understanding of, the more difficult you choose (read less time between shots) the more points and respect you will earn. It’s a balancing act to get the most you can, but also be able to realistically achieve the end goal. As with any respected Inter-Galactic Bounty Hunter you will be working for multiple factions. Both Vader and Jabba the Hutt. As any Star Wars fan would expect, the final mission of this table involves Han Solo in carbonite and a Sarlacc pit. Aside from the soundtrack and audio, the one thing that literally blew me away was the animations after you reach a certain respect level. I refuse to spoil this moment for anyone, but I will say I was most impressed. This table plays fast, and can provide a very good challenge even for the veteran players, but it never feels like the required action is impossible (I’m looking at you Iron Man table!) For those willing to learn and understand the shots this table will offer up plenty of rewards.
How much is it?
If you are planning on getting it for Xbox 360, 800 Microsoft Point, Play Station 3 is $9.99. The Mac App store they are $2.99 per table. Both the Apple App store and Google Play will run you $1.99 per table.
- Amazing and iconic soundtrack
- A perfect translation of the Star Wars universe to pinball
- Freaking Boba Fett!
- None, this is pinball perfection.
Is it worth it?
Yes – and if I knew how to say yes in other languages I would say it that way as well. I simply cannot say enough good things about these three tables. The offer a variety in degree of difficulty, but are never so hard that players will become discouraged and give up. They appeal to both the pinball wizards and the Star Wars fans who have never played pinball before. Attention to detail has been a hallmark of Zen Studios past pinball tables, and these certainly don’t disappoint. If I had a friend that was interested in trying pinball on a console or mobile device, this three pack would be at, or near, the top of what I would introduce them to. For those on consoles, you are able to try demos for each and every table as well. I strongly encourage all Star Wars fans to give these tables a shot, for $10 the replay value is simply off the charts. As always though, when it comes to pinball if you are on my friends list expect no mercy. See you at the top of the leaderboards!
Written by Andy Gray